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Synonyms: bending, crazy, curled, curling, curved, curving, curvy, devious, serpentine, sinuous, tortuous, twisted, twisting, winding, windy
And I’ve got
No illusions about you
And guess what?
I never did
And when I said
When I said I’ll take it
I meant as is
~Ani DiFranco, As Is
Like most young girls of my generation, I read Judy Blume’s book Deenie when I was in middle school. The story was simple- a teenage girl wants to become a model but finds out she has scoliosis. Angst ensues. Girl finds solace in friendship and inner fortitude. The end.
I never had aspirations to model- I was an overweight child, and that set the bar pretty low when it came to desiring certain physical outcomes- but I did worry about getting scoliosis after reading that book. I remember worrying every time I went through the annual spine checkup at my middle school – would this be the time that they would find a curve, or would I get to be the fat girl that was still reasonably normal?
Long story short: I lost weight after freshman year and was simultaneously diagnosed with moderate thoracolumbar scoliosis. The world did not end, though it felt like it might. I am still here, twisted and tortuous, serpentine and sinuous. I am not straight (there are many definitions for “straight” in Merriam Webster’s online dictionary- my personal favorite is “exhibiting no deviation from what is established or accepted as usual, normal, or proper”). From my very bones, I am something…different. I deviate.
I have learned to deal with being crooked. I have learned to deal with chronic pain and leg length difference and the tendency for my left pant leg to drag a little and thus get more wet than my right pant leg when it rains. I have learned that the sexiness of high heels needs to be saved for rare occasions and that I can’t just lay any way I would like when I sleep. I have learned that chiropractic is great for pain management and yoga should really be done every day.
Today, I am in a lot of pain. Today, I know that I really can’t keep skipping yoga and daily stretching. Scoliosis reminds me that I have to take care of myself, that I have to pay attention when my body speaks, lest it speak more loudly, more insistently. It’s an interesting gift, being crooked. I can’t check out- navigating curves requires that I remain present. I have to listen carefully to my body. This awareness is a gift, one I am not always ready to receive. I may have learned to deal with my body, but I am still learning to love it.
I am still learning that life is beautiful as is.